Adverts coming to Skype this week

Pioneering Internet telephony outfit Skype will start displaying online advertising this week in a last-ditch attempt to boost its fortunes and turn a profit before going public later this year.

The company is keen to point out that it won't be interrupting calls with recorded messages or invading your chat sessions with robospam, saying that the ads will be confined to the software's home tab and will initially be limited to one banner per day.

Skype's Doug Bewsher said in a blog post: "We believe that advertising, when done in the right way, will help us continue to invest in developing great products."

He also said that the company had signed deals with a number of big names including Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa for ads which would appear at first in the US, UK and Germany before spreading further afield.

Ads will be targeted at specific geographical areas using 'non-personal demographic data' so that UK users don't see banners for US-only products and vice-versa, although users can opt out of supplying this data using the privacy tab.

Skype has not made it clear whether premium subscribers will be able to avoid the inevitable advertising onslaught, but we're guessing from the tirade of angry comments from paying punters that the company is aware of their indignation.